Pre-Marital Cohabitation Won't Screw Your Nuptials After All

Dusten Carlson

With nearly half of all marriages ending in divorce within the first 20 years, you might wonder, would your odds be better giving it a test-run and living with your spouse-to-be first? Old statistics would say no, and in fact the opposite will happen, but new data is showing that the tide has turned pretty dramatically.

The new research stems from part of a marriage survey of 22,000 men and women, and it shows that while couples who lived together before marriage aren't better off than those who haven't, they aren't worse off either. The fact is, it really just doesn't play much of a role at all in whether or not your marriage will be successful. "It's not playing as big a role in predicting divorce as it used to," said Casey Copen, lead author of the study.

In the late 60s, roughly 10% of US couples lived together before tying the knot, only to find themselves in divorce court with much more regularity than more conservative couples, which is where we get the assumption that it spells doom for your marital hopes. Today, 60% of married couples say that they lived together before marriage.

"It's becoming so common, it's not surprising it no longer negatively affects marital stability," said Wendy Manning, co-director of the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

Also, young people who stall marriage in favor of education and career ultimately do find love, and tend to keep it longer. For them, "cohabitation is a trial marriage, usually without kids, that often ends in marriage."

Do you have a live-in boyfriend/girlfriend? Or did you marry your live-in boyfriend/girlfriend?